Expository writing, Robert Scafe
Honor killings in the modern world; a case study of murder of Qandeel Baloch
There are specific features of the modern world that make the issue of honor killing more complicated. Ironically though, honor killings in the modern world are predominantly viewed as a medieval practice confined to poor cut-off villages among primitives too brainwashed to imagine a world otherwise. This essay looks at a tale that challenges this conventional narrative of honor killings being a phenomenon of the past and reflects on the nuances of the mass media and social media that complicate the issue.
Qandeel Baloch was a poor girl from a small village in Pakistan that became a social media celebrity overnight with her sexually suggestive video clips on Facebook. The videos feature Qandeel stretched out on a bed, whispering like a child, accusing her viewers of being 'budmaash' (naughty). While the videos wouldn't qualify for pornographic content in the less prudent parts of the world, it made tsunami waves in the social fabric in Pakistan. Young men and women glued to her page for updates cursed her for angering the Gods in the sky, at the same time couldn't stop sharing her videos, memes about her videos and referencing her in college grounds at recess. While few progressive news outlets (all in English medium, catering to the more affluent population) hailed her for monetizing on patriarchy that has otherwise, and in other ways, disadvantaged her as a women for her sex appeal. Most, however, shamed her for misusing social media and bringing shame to the country. Amidst the chaos of Qandeel's booming career and mass media exploiting and aggravating the sentiments of, well, everyone; there was a crime in the making. There was someone reading the comments on the unfathomable videos. And it wasn't the fans, the haters, the hungry media persons or even Qandeel herself. It was Qandeel's brother who was devouring all the hate, comment after comment shaming him for letting his sister, 'his woman', get involved in deplorable acts of shame, enticing him to take an action, any action. And he did. July 15th, 2016, Waseem Azeem asphyxiates his own sister.
Social media platforms facilitated the aggravation of the dogma of honor.
The next morning he confesses to the murder. In his confession he sites those comments that people were posting and how as a respectable man he didn't have a choice. Later comes the father's perspective on things. He condemns the son and believes the murder was what brought disgrace to the family, not Qandeel's videos. This is despite the older generation is, understandably, perceived to have had greater influence of backward ideas growing up. While that may be the case, the role of social media complicates it ten folds. The father being an illiterate man living in a remote village doesn't have access to internet and consequently to her videos or the comments. Might his opinion been different had he seen...